Bhubaneswar: Some officials of the Commissionerate Police here are allegedly collecting parking fees on the pretext of financing police welfare programmes and swindling the money. This exposes a class of corrupt cops who, instead of ensuring safety and security of people, are focused on making quick bucks by employing such tactics.
According to sources, hundreds of visitors from different parts of the state throng the Lingaraj temple every day. However, absence of a parking lot outside the temple forces them to park their vehicles on the verandah of the Lingaraj police station, perhaps the only option available there. Since the verandah is spacious enough to accommodate a good number of vehicles, the Lingaraj police personnel are cashing in on the opportunity by charging people parking fees.
Now, it seems, collection of parking fees has become the primary responsibility of the Lingaraj police, who charge between `10 and `30 for motorcycles, auto-rickshaws and four-wheelers. If someone asks for a ticket, the cops hand him/her a piece of paper with ‘Police Welfare’ printed on it. There is virtually no answer when they are asked about the details of funds utilised for the welfare of the police. This is a burning example as to how the police are hankering after money instead of accomplishing their primary responsibilities, said sources.
On any given day, at least 200 vehicles are parked on the police station premises. Therefore, a simple calculation gives a monthly parking fee collection of `1.2 lakh. Which means, the Lingaraj police collect a substantial `14.4 lakh in parking fee every year. Despite collection of such a sizeable amount, no significant peripheral development of the police station is visible so far.
The condition of the cow catcher installed at the entrance of the police station speaks volumes about the developmental initiatives undertaken by the Lingaraj police. There are instances of people facing mishaps while riding on the old and broken cow catcher, resulting in injuries to many. However, the police are not taking any step to replace the damaged cow catcher and repair the gate. Instead, they have covered the broken parts of the cow catcher by filling them with sand.
City intellectuals are not convinced that the Lingaraj police are collecting parking fees to spend on welfare activities. Since there is lack of evidence to suggest funds so collected are actually utilised for police welfare, the money seems to be going into the pockets of cops manning the police station, they feel.
Lingaraj inspector-in-charge (IIC) Janardan Padhi said, “Parking fees go into the police society welfare and development fund. The police headquarters utilises the fund for several developmental purposes.”
When asked about the deplorable condition of the cow catcher, Padhi said, “The responsibility lies on Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department. We have written to the department over the issue and a cow catcher will be prepared after the estimates come.”
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